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What’s the deal with chick flicks?

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We’ve all been there; sitting on the edge of our seat, clutching a blanket to our chests as we watch a heart-wrenching romance scene play out on the screen before us. Whether we were forced into a situation by a significant other – or it was just a night that called for some hearty crying – we can’t deny the single emotion that’s touched us all; Wonder.

For these encapturing scenes, for the storyline, for the two characters that play out an iconic moment for us. We’ve all, surely, experienced the awe that follows a romantic movie.

10 Things I Hate About You, Titanic,, The Notebook, A Walk To Remember , even Highschool Musical- all iconic movies with scenes that anyone would be able to reference. But why do we find ourselves to be enamored by these romantic movies? Why do they have such a pull on the audience? Furthermore, do these movies actually affect our expectations of relationships?

Dr. Jess Carbino, an avid researcher of this field states,“In the course of my research, I’ve found that people do refer to their desired relationships in the context of popular films.” This, of course, is something we’ve all seen before. Like when we watch that scene from High School Musical where Troy climbs Gabriella’s balcony just to serenade her about their potential love and think ‘why can’t I have a Troy Bolton!?’

But why does it happen like this? The answer lies in one crucial fact. It’s probably no surprise that the majority of this well-wishing population is teenagers. Because, yes, while Troy is a total-hotty basketball superstar – there is a certain audience that will solely be attracted to him. And this stems from the fact that teenagers just hold much less experience than adults in the dating world.  “You’re old enough to be interested in figuring out how relationships work, but tend to have limited personal experience with dating to draw on,” said Julia Lippman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of no Michigan’s Department of Communication Studies. “Therefore, you turn to media for guidance. As we get older, we can become more critical about the messages we receive from the media.” Most experts can agree that teenagers take away a lot of “false advertising” from all these chick flicks. Probably the most common, according to Dr. Lippman, is that “movies portray love as something that “just happens,” and that relationships require “little to no effort to maintain.”” So maybe that’s why all of us think our Romeo will happen to appear next to us during karaoke at a ski resort New Years party.

This may seem like it’s unimportant or even trivial in the grand scheme of things, but Dr. Silvia Kratzer, Professor of Cinema Studies at the UCLA Department of Theater, Film and Television, explains that it’s not unusual for women to feel inferior, or even damaged, when watching these romantic movies. Especially since the films tend to emphasize their own crazy love stories. Not every woman is going to have a full on flash mob prepared for her as an apology, or get to turn the school jock into some doting sweetheart.

Dr. Kratzer explains, “Rom-coms also convey the illusion that self-fulfillment and self-worth can only be found in an idealized romantic relationship,” she added. “This can redirect a woman’s power towards an impossible pursuit of love rather than, say, developing a healthy relationship with yourself.”

Romantic movies are definitely something we all enjoy, and there is no fault to enjoying them. But it’s important that we take them with a grain of salt, and realize that there’s nothing wrong with seeing the relationships displayed as inspiration…rather than aspiration.

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The student news site of Canfield High School.
What’s the deal with chick flicks?